Telling the truth can be dangerous business…

Howdy, y’all. I’m Trent. This is my blog: a cartography of talking about shit I really really like (or don’t and why).

I’m not sure how you’ve arrived here exactly. Or at what point in time you’re reading this, since the initial posting. Or even what or how much of the site you’ve read before discovering it.

I suppose it doesn’t matter. I suppose that’s half the fun of an archive (how it folds or unfolds a history of things, depending on how you approach it)

Why make a blog? Now there’s a question. “Oh geez a blog… why the dumb hassle?” What’s the point anymore in this day and age, when everything needing to be said can be seemingly sequestered onto user platforms: a neatly packaged Letterbox, a Medium-sized newsletter, a pithy tweet? Why not monetize your hobby properly? Why make a land claim in the island chain of the Internet, if the attention span and dopamine receptors aren’t there long enough among the population to spot or stick with it? If it’ll all just inevitably filter and fall under the heavenly mandate of Meta anyways… why do any of this? Why bother at all, really?

I dunno! I guess the simple fact of the matter is the idea of this has been in the back of my head so long, I can’t imagine not doing it—it seemed like a foregone conclusion as soon as I discovered what a blog was or how it could instantiate a real way to do… something.  I can only speak from experience. I grew up exploring and learning how to use the internet in that brief yet special 2000s/early 2010s era of being online, a window of time I’ll try avoiding actively romanticizing but which nonetheless will be emphasized here as an odd period with its own particular sensation or logic of onlineness (a uniqueness worth mentioning, if only by dint of the fact there’s probably an entire generation born after mine nowadays who might read that and recognize nothing of the sensation or even what the fuck I’m going on about).  Social media was gaining ascendence, yet still hadn’t been fully embedded into society and thus remained curiously distinct from the everyday: corporatization hadn’t smoothed everything out into a homogenized network of lock-in nodes and platform capitalism, so the Net still resembled a place where chancy discoveries or community connections formed a bit less algorithmic, more open-endedly. Forums still had advocates, every porn site trawled still risked destroying the family computer. The frontier was coming to an end, sure, but you’d have never known it for all the possibilities. Or poor HTML code design.

Anyone could write or collect or showoff about any number of things. And they did. And it was great. Like a sightseeing expedition between icebergs: you could climb or dive and explore one mass, then hop to another! It was all rather mundane but it felt like an adventure.

There was something wonderful about that, y’know? With comicbooks in particular, I remember discovering in high school and college how there was a whole slath of onliners with their own websites engaging in the exact kind of comics criticism and discourse I’d been chomping at the gums for—Factual Opinion, 4thLetter, Supervillian, Savage Critic, Jog the Blog,  Alec Berry, Graphicontent, besides a dozen or so more lost to time—people engaging with my favorite medium in a manner seemingly unobtainable among conversations attempted with close yet disinterested IRL friends or the socially awkward mouth-breathers huddling around the LCS counter every week simply to bitch incessantly about superhero continuity or taking Marvel vs DC partisanship too seriously. What I discovered instead was what I thought needed discussion already existed, and then some: pointed pontifications about craft; looooong essays codifying aspects of artistic canon and the history of an industry; passionate tracts about brightly colored, long-forgotten artefacts encountered in childhood; explorations into unfamiliar zines, roundtable conversations about anthologies, odd yet informative dissections of style between cartoonists, capsule reviews old and new…  basically, new manners of composition, new ways of conceiving or receiving ideas about things… all of which lead to wasting hours each day for a few weeks or months, anytime I discovered some new site to unpack… cycling through older posts to uncover what’s already been covered or where someone’s possible interests may life, trawling new posts to see how their voice continues extending, branching out in conceptions… shit, OK, now I’m probably romanticizing.

(And it probably goes without saying this notion of blogs never entirely went away, they continue to exist—they’re just seemingly perceived as something niche or unviable with the rise of user platforms and thus gotten less prominent as a result. Hence: this entire superfluous apologia of an opening to a post. Anyways.)

I like how metamorphic blogs seem. They can remain personal, yet always shift focus; you don’t necessarily have to be bogged down by professional strictures or writing formats. That’s half the reason I’m attracted to the idea. The other half is more simple: how writing is always about communication, somehow in some way. And sometimes a blog feels like my best hope for achieving that. I suppose form follows function. Or personal (dis)function sought a proper form. I’ve been diagnosed with ADHD since I was five and it shows: no sense of time management, poor executive functioning, an inability to find anchorage in immediate surroundings and goals unless stuffed full of legalized meth or traumatized into anxiety-laden behavioral change, etc. My manner of being is perhaps not so conducive to writing. I tend towards tangents, I prefer to ramble in conversation and thinking. I still prefer longhand in notebooks, if only because it’s better at forcing me to retain focus than a screen.

An urge to get by in life in some capacity by just writing always seemed undermined by an inability to follow through on promising starts, ever since I was a teenager. There was a point in my life when I was all ego & driven by nothing but an immolating desire, never spoken, to prove how much ‘better’ or ‘smarter’ I was than everyone else. Never mind how moronic that is, I simply ‘knew’ it was the case… and yet, as you can imagine, nothing ever actually got done during that long stretch. 

 It’s hard to know what came first: frustrated inability or the arrogance to prove something?

Nowadays I don’t feel that way much at all anymore. I’d much rather get to know somebody and what they like, or how they’re better at one thing than another, or where they apply their own smarts and why. There was a series of moments where my own life spiraled into control with a discovery of sleep, emancipatory politics, a possibility for love and an accumulation of knowledge & experience. Probably I could redirect my desires elsewhere now and be happy, but still: I want to write.  I need to talk about what enthuses me, to converse with myself about why something I encountered felt fascinating or meaningful or significant, whether there’s an audience to chime-in or not. Praise is mere sugar in the gas tank nowadays; the only person I have to prove anything to is myself.

I know my problems pretty well at this point: if I can’t motivate myself to do something, if I don’t care about something, I’m going to just procrastinate or lose interest and… end up sorta smoldering, listlessly. To mention nothing of how the everlasting issue of burnout management ties into everything. (Good things happen to those bestowed proper work-life balance, and making people grind for it until such a luxurious dynamic happens to them, well, that’s just a delicate dance of a spiritual style…nah I’m just kidding, fuck capitalist platitudes, seriously, GIVE US OUR TIME & ENERGY BACK).

I also know I like to dwell intently upon things. I like philosophy, I like critical analysis. I enjoy learning and making sense of abstract theory, contoured concepts, mathematical logics, metaphorical structures, descriptive deepdives. And I equally enjoy those modes with which such ruminations take shape: meandering rants, anecdotal spirals, academic scientism, poetic analogy, hilarious waves of aphorism, fictionalized fragments blurring with reality. I find as much joy getting caught up in those types of movements—figuring out how stuff works until it clicks in place while staring off into space, lost on an inward propulsion—as I do art itself. Probably because it stems from the same process: creative. To create is to trace an outline of what you wanna say, discovering it as you say it.

Maybe that’s the key.

I think my current living situation has finally helped me realize (and this is basic writer 101 shit, very silly it took so long!) the only way I can do these things I feel like I need to do is if I indulge a yearning to speak about them earnestly. And what I’m discovering is… what gets me most motivated is to creatively connect whichever process keeps me most excited about something with what I want to convey. To find the lines. To just throw out expectations and flow. To experiment with what works and what doesn’t.

To play with what I wanna say. Until one day, maybe, it becomes effortless. Or time-poverty is no longer a thing.

I’m going to try and carve out a space here, a realm of movement between language and ideas—that’s the most important part, that’s the ultimate goal. More than reviews, essays, journaling or interviews, I want this to be a space where I can trace snapshots of thought as they occur to me and constantly calibrate how I communicate them. A flux of learning crystalized as a receptacle of instants: calibretto platonia.

There’s a haste to create, even if it’s for something trivial as formulating a few random inconsequential thoughts. I don’t know what I’m accelerating towards but holy fuck do I have my foot on the pedal.

It’s gonna be dumb, it’s gonna be fun, maybe it’ll turn out inconsistent but I can assure you: it’ll never be boring.

Aight. Let’s do this.

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